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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lifetime Friendships through Travel (El Carmen, Perú)

 

















El Carmen de Chincha, Perú

As a traveler (not a tourist), I prefer to stay away from tourist attractions and activities and be among the everyday people of the places I visit. This, in my opinion, is the best way to experience the real culture; particularly if you want to master the language. In my case, Spanish.

Years ago, I was astonished to learn from an article I read that there are more black Latinos in the Americas than there are black gringos. What surprises me to the point of frustration is that too many Latinos I meet, from New York to California, do not know about the blacks in their own communities who speak Spanish as their first language. What a shame as they, of all people, should know better.

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Before making my first trip to Perú in 2005, I got the phone number from a travel guide of Peru's famous Ballumbrosio family (above), of whom the patriarch, the late-great maestro violinist Amador Ballumbrosio, helped to revive and popularize Afro-Peruvian music. I picked up the phone, called and told them I needed a place to stay. Amador Ballumbrosio's daughter Maribel was so loving over the phone that my heart was deeply touched. I made the reservation to rent a room from the family, got clear directions from the Airport to their home in El Carmen.

Mamá Adelina's birthday

Adelina, the wife of the late, great Amador. We are celebrating her birthday

Going to the beach

I care for my goddaughter Daniela (far right front, by the window) so much that I often invite her friends, family, and neighbors to participate in activities I plan for her. In this photo, I rented a van and took everyone pictured to the beach in Chincha, Perú.

Polla a la Brasa


After the beach, we dined at a chicken-and-fries joint (pollo-a-la-braza).


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Family members of my goddaughter Daniela. L-R: her aunt Cristina, her sister Ruth, her cousin Mariana, her uncle Jesus, and her cousin Yomira.

Daniela new bike
Daniela (in yellow) and her cousin (to the left) Mariana of El Carmen, Perú

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Daniela and I at the Plaza de Armas (main square) in Chincha, Perú